Cadillac Records (2008) – REVIEW

by Jordache Wee

Release Date: December 5, 2008
Directed by: Darnell Martin
Music by: Terence Blanchard, Steve Jordan
Starring: Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Cedric the Entertainer, Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Eamonn Walker, Mos Def, Beyoncé Knowles

An elderly Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer) is seen recording the history of Chess Records as he narrates the history of the label records.

It ws the 1940s and Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) is a poor Polish Jew who works in a junkyard and an awful chain-smoker. He broke up his girlfriend due to his financial difficulties. But married to Revetta (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and have an infant daughter.

Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright)

Somewhere in Mississippi and a someone named McKinley Morganfield or otherwise better known as Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright) left home and moves to Chicago and then married Geneva Wade (Gabrielle Union). Soon he formed a band with two other local musicians and harmonica player Little Walter (Columbus Short).

This is the era whereby Waters invented the blues before subsequently it will influence the rock ‘n’ roll era.  Waters was then picked by Leonard Chess who opens a recording label.

Both siblings Leonard and Phil Chess (Shiloh Fernandez) manages the shop without racism as brings in black musicians. Without discrimination and racism, they both enjoy the blues.

Leonard Chess speaking to Etta James (Beyoncé Knowles)

Soon the label is populated with famous legends like Howlin’ Wolf (Eamonn Walker), Etta James (Beyoncé Knowles) and Chuck Berry (Mos Def).

Howlin Wolf (Eamonn Walker)

Soon their recording label is called Cadillac Records. The fact that every successful musician owns a Cadillac so does the Chess brothers. Seems like everyone at Cadillac Records drives one.

Reviewer’s Note:
Cadillac Records is a 2008 dramatic jazz and blues music biopic written and directed by Darnell Martin. The film explores the musical era from the early 1940s to the late 1960s, chronicling the life of the influential Chicago-based record-company executive Leonard Chess, and the singers who recorded for Chess Records.

The story begins with Muddy Waters with his talents being found by Leonard Chess. Thus creating the Chess Records and making Muddy Waters as his business partner. Later we see Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry being part of the whole blues gang.

The film also depicts the life of each blues musicians as from the background they were to the fame they received.

The Rolling Stone formed their band name after one of Waters famous song. Though that guy in that scene sure doesn’t look like Mick Jagger at all.

The storyline differs from its original true side story but after all it’s a good film. We get to see Chuck Berry in his Sweet Little Sixteen and My ding-a-ling. And Beach Boys got sued for copyright changing Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen to Surfin’ USA.

Cadillac Records is the beginning of all rock ‘n’ roll. More like the father of rock ‘n’ roll!


One response to “Cadillac Records (2008) – REVIEW

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